It had to happen sometime; and sometime soon at that. Colin Edwards announced that this will be his last year of racing. He made the announcement at the pre-event conference without any preamble. He looked nervous, blurted out that he hadn't thought how to say this, then calmly and clearly announced that 2014 would be his last season as a motorcycle racer. He didn't get much further before a prolonged round of applause interrupted him.
Colin is forty now and has three kids, but this wasn't a move he'd been planning for long. He only made his mind up a month or so ago. What seems to have bought retirement on is the knowledge that his Forward Yamaha needs a certain riding style and the equally certain knowledge that he can't adapt any more.
The announcement produced fulsome tributes, a good laugh and a couple of charming moments. Valentino declared Colin his best friend in the paddock and reminisced about their times as team mates. Marc Marquez was trying so hard to be respectful when he said "He started the world championship when I was two years old..." and ended up wondering why everyone including Colin was laughing.
Nicky Hayden was his usual self: he looked over towards Colin's wife and kids and said "He's got a lot to look forward to." Colin looked as if that might have sent him over the top but he kept control.
Stopping doing something you've been doing since you were four is never going to be easy, but Colin has been clever with his investments, with his Boot Camp and other ventures. His son is a keen dirt-tracker and baseball player, he'll have plenty to do and you know he'll do it well.